Record volumes burst capacities

Record order volume at VVA

The run-up to Christmas in the Corona year brought colleagues at the Arvato Supply Chain Solutions subsidiary more orders than at any time since its founding in 1959. Books and toys are extremely popular at the moment: The German Booksellers' Association, for example, puts the growth in sales of these products in the current Christmas season at ten percent compared to the previous year - triggered primarily by the Corona pandemic including soft or now hard lockdown. 

VVA (Vereinigte Verlagsauslieferung), a group of companies belonging to Arvato Supply Chain Solutions, with locations in Gütersloh, Verl and Munich, ensures that these goods reach retailers and consumers. And VVA's colleagues are currently busier than at any time since the company was founded in 1959.

The second week of Advent not only gave VVA its biggest day of incoming orders since 1959, we also set a new volume record over the entire week.

Stephan Schierke
President Publisher

Pallets of books ready for shipment as far as the eye can see: VVA's outgoing goods department in Gütersloh is not the only one working at the edge of its capacity.

New records in a special year

"The situation is particularly tight at our southern location, Publisher Services Munich, which works for Penguin Random House publisher Dorling Kindersley, among others, but also for other well-known publishers such as Hanser and Tessloff." He added that the order volume for December 2020 was 60 percent higher than for the same month last year. "Despite the commitment of all forces - even supervisors from the commercial area pitched in - these volumes cannot be managed on anything close to a daily basis," explains Schierke. "In order to be able to carry out inventory and the annual financial statements properly, we are already thinking about additional invoice-free days at the end of the year."

It is particularly pleasing that despite all these large volumes, the trade says that VVA's delivery reliability is excellent compared to the competition.

Stephan Schierke
President Publisher

Stephan Schierke

The picture is similar at the main site in Gütersloh. "Although we have been working here around the clock in three shifts for several weeks now, the 19,000 packages per day, each containing an average of more than 33 books, are exceeding our capacity limits," says the President, describing the situation. At peak times, more than 26,000 packages with 828,000 books were invoiced. The background to this, he says, is not only the special Corona situation, which apparently leads to large order volumes, but also the numerous top titles, above all the biography of former U.S. President Barack Obama. "It is remarkable that even our reserve capacity of more than 80,000 additional books per day in the new shuttle system, which was actually built up for remodeling purposes, is not sufficient," Schierke continues. There are also bottlenecks in other areas, such as outgoing goods, he adds. "For a large online bookseller alone, 15 complete truck trains are currently dispatched every day as direct runs, plus numerous partial loads," he reports.

Excellent delivery reliability

At the VVA site in Verl, mainly toys are distributed. Here, the seasonal business traditionally starts two months earlier than in the book business. Despite this, last week's deliveries were almost a third higher than last year's, as parlor games in particular are obviously in high demand at the moment. "It is particularly pleasing that despite all these large volumes, retailers say that VVA's delivery reliability is excellent compared to the competition," emphasizes Stephan Schierke. "Against this background, I would like to thank all of my colleagues in the VVA business unit for their great performance." He also sees the consistently high quality as the main reason why VVA continues to grow against the industry trend with new customers. "I am delighted that two very important customer contracts are likely to be renewed before the end of December," he announces.

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